Friday, May 30, 2008

Habiendo Diversión

This here post is about a company from Spain called Stone Designs.  I found them by way of RS-Life, who've recently merged with them, and who I'd like to mention separately, because their website is one of the best-designed websites I've seen in a long time.  It really should be nominated for some kind of web design award.

RS-Life is doing some fancy foosball tables and some other items using the foosball player figures, but I really liked their picnic tables (click for larger):

I really like them.  They're very graphic and playful without being tacky or childish.

Stone Designs, in general, are doing some extremely interesting and beautiful work, all around.

First, for the Beautiful, we have "Burger":

There's a wider version of this called "Hot Dog," but I thought this one was more successful.  The wider version is probably a two-seater, but it doesn't look like the backrest is bigger enough to accommodate both people, and is still in the center, so it seemed less practical to me.

Here's "On the Road":

The symbolism this exploits is so interesting.  Knowing the name of it doesn't hurt, but it connotes the outdoors not by mimicking natural forms, but secondarily, by using visual references from gear, instead.  Very smart, and I've not seen something quite like this before.

Here's the hypermodern "Tuy Yo":

Sort of a piece of installation art for lounging, a somewhat bizarre and fully striking take on the conversation nook.

As for the Natural, we have "Bee":

Even here, they're using organic forms in wholly uncommon ways.  This totally reminds me of Wright's Johnson Wax Building:
It is kind of a shame that the stool component only works so well on a white floor.  Very few of us have white floors, and otherwise you'd see the platform base very noticeably.  This is still very cool though.  You may not be surprised that I love the contrast here between the Modern/Synthetic and the Natural.

Same with "Drops":

Inspired by the waves caused by drops of water.  A glamour shot of these in the middle of a shallow, stony stream reminded me how great these would be next to a swimming pool.

As "Nenufar" would be next to a pond:

This almost looks like it was bent out of one solid circular sheet of metal, which would be really interesting, but I'm not sure that's geometrically possible.  I'd have to see it in person, and I don't believe they had these at the show.  Anyway, calling on natural forms, but--especially with the white ones--in an extremely subtle ways.

There are also a lot of pieces from them for the Clever category, like "Bon Voyage":

Shelves that hint at marine forms, maybe even surfboards.  And it's difficult to see in this photo, but this one also contributes to that trend I mentioned earlier of objects that dissolve or disappear into the wall, on its left side.

Here's their "Casper" Collection:

Knowing what this one is called makes it very funny, actually, but I don't think you'd think "ghost" right away.  Rather, stools, etc. that appear as if they're draped with fabric.  These really remind me of this stool that's been around in my parents' houses since before I was born.  The one from my childhood is more elaborate, but it's in the shape of an upholstered, tufted, and ornamented stool, executed in glossy white porcelain.  I like the tension between hard and soft here.

"Equilibrio" has it where it concerns flexibility:

The large casters and metal support--aside from breaking up the visual monotony very simply and nicely--first of all makes the piece easier to move around at will, and secondly responds to the fact that books need to lean.  This bookshelf will stay neat without needing bookends.

They had their "Guerrilla Containers" at the show, and I think this is such a great idea:
They're based on the sandbags used in trench warfare.  This really has so much.  It has flexibility, because you can throw them around and stack them, pile them as you please, where you need them.  It has the dual purpose of being both floor pillows and storage at the same time (a combination I don't think I've ever encountered before).  And above all else, it's poignant, expressive, and even somewhat disturbing in its symbolism.  I had to show you the glamour shot, too, because for some reason it made me grin:


Last but not least, when I first saw the "Linehouse" pieces, I kind of thought "uh, oh, reform school furniture":

Ouch, better have a fluffy pillow if you're going to lean on that bar to watch TV.  But you have to see what they've done with this whole room concept, because it's really extremely cool:

It comes from the trick of drawing a picture in one continuous line without ever lifting the pencil up off the paper.  So every piece of furniture in your room is actually connected together in this single conceptual design object.  I think it would be extremely fascinating and so visually dynamic.

Stone Designs
(Barcelona) 3493-658-9503

©2008, Ryan Witte

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